Several miRNAs derived from serum extracellular vesicles are potential biomarkers for early diagnosis and progression of Parkinson's disease

Transl Neurodegener. 2021 Jul 28;10(1):25. doi: 10.1186/s40035-021-00249-y.


Background: Blood-based test for predicting disease progression and early diagnosis of Parkinson's disease (PD) is an unmet need in the clinic. The profiles of microRNAs (miRNAs) are regarded as potential diagnostic biomarkers for human diseases, whereas miRNAs in the periphery are susceptible to the influence of various components. MiRNAs enriched in serum extracellular vesicles (EVs) have demonstrated disease-specific advantages in diagnosis due to their high abundance, stability and resistance to degradation. This study was aimed to screen differentially expressed EV-derived miRNAs between healthy controls and PD patients to aid in diagnosis of PD.

Methods: A total of 31 healthy controls and 72 patients with a diagnosis of PD at different Hoehn and Yahr stages in Tangdu Hospital were included. In total, 185 differentially expressed miRNAs were obtained through RNA sequencing of serum EVs as well as edgeR and t-test analyses. Subsequently, the weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) was utilized to identify the commonly expressed miRNAs in all stages of PD by constructing connections between modules, and specifically expressed miRNAs in each stage of PD by functional enrichment analysis. After aligning these miRNAs with PD-related miRNAs in Human miRNA Disease Database, the screened miRNAs were further validated by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) using peripheral blood EVs from 40 more participants.

Results: WGCNA showed that 4 miRNAs were commonly associated with all stages of PD and 13 miRNAs were specifically associated with different stages of PD. Of the 17 obtained miRNAs, 7 were validated by ROC curve analysis and 7 were verified in 40 more participants by qRT-PCR. Six miRNAs were verified by both methods, which included 2 miRNAs that were commonly expressed in all stages of PD and 4 miRNAs that were specifically expressed in different stages of PD.

Conclusions: The 6 serum EV-derived miRNAs, hsa-miR-374a-5p, hsa-miR-374b-5p, hsa-miR-199a-3p, hsa-miR-28-5p, hsa-miR-22-5p and hsa-miR-151a-5p, may potentially be used as biomarkers for PD progression and for early diagnosis of PD in populations.

Keywords: Biomarkers; Extracellular vesicles; Hoehn and Yahr stage; MicroRNAs; Parkinson’s disease; Weighted gene co-expression network analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't